Sarai Bareman: Women's World Cup trophy tour was my most rewarding experience

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Samuel Ahmadu/Goal
After travelling with the coveted prize to 24 countries, the Fifa top official has been reflecting on her incredible journey

Fifa's chief women's football officer Sarai Bareman has spoken to Goal about her methods to take the game around the world.

The international trophy tour started in France on February 23 before ending its visit to the other 23 participating World Cup countries on May 2.

"The Women's World Cup trophy tour has been my most rewarding experience [since working at Fifa]," Bareman told Goal.

"To be able to travel to each of the qualified countries, to bring the trophy there and allow the people to see it, especially the young girls, was rewarding.

"It is not easy to travel around all the time, so when you have the chance to be able to put a face to a name and shake the hands of people that you've been emailing and talking to, it is really nice.

"It's also a chance to see and understand what's the reality on ground with people because it's one thing to do your work in the office up on the hill in Zurich, Switzerland but to come down to a country you see, is the reality and to feel it with your own eyes, that is the best way I can do my job."

Sarai Bareman - Fifa

The New Zealand-born player had represented Samoa on the field and at the football federation. After taking up her role at Fifa, she developed the first-ever global strategy for women's football, which was launched in 2018.

Upon completing the 24-nation trophy tour, Bareman reveals her approach to sustain Fifa's lofty plans for women's football in the long term.

"One of the things we've focused a lot on since I've arrived at Fifa setting up the women's division is a tailor-made approach," she continued.

"There was a time in the past when Fifa used to come into a country in Africa, for example like Nigeria and they will bring a one-size-fits-all development programme - the same one for everybody.

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"For me, this is wrong. I have a background when I was working formerly as general secretary in a small Pacific island Samoa. I used to get so angry when this kind of workshop or programme came to the country and they will talk about all these big European ideas of football which had really nothing to do with the environment on the home ground.

"So, we are focusing a lot on the tailor-made approach being able to come to a country and sit down to talk with the coaches, players and those in charge of women's football to see the reality with them.

"To also know their challenges in order to make a tailored project or program to support the specific environment and that country. It's a bit of a long time in terms of impact but if we really want what we're doing to be sustainable, it's the best way to do it."
     

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